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David Alvarez Supporters Analyze Loss In San Diego Mayoral Runoff Election

San Diegans who pounded the pavement in hopes of bringing the city’s first Latino mayor into office gathered over the weekend to discuss why Councilman David Alvarez lost the election last February. Fronteras reporter Jill Replogle tells us that changing demographics is behind one theory.

San Diegans who pounded the pavement in hopes of bringing the city’s first Latino mayor into office gathered over the weekend to discuss why San Diego City Councilman David Alvarez lost the mayoral election last February.

San Diegans who pounded the pavement in hopes of bringing the city’s first Latino mayor into office gathered over the weekend to discuss why San Diego City Councilman David Alvarez lost the mayoral election last February.

Some 75 people, including Alvarez, took part in the post-election diagnosis at the Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park.

Campaign leaders, community activists and experts on Latino voters presented data and theories about the defeat. For one thing, voter turnout was undeniably low — about 44 percent. And turnout was even lower in most districts that traditionally vote Democrat.

Chicano Studies professor Isidro Ortiz also suggested that the traditional electorate might be fearful of the growing size and influence of Latinos and other minority groups. And that this could be pushing them to the right.

“White independents who could be theoretically a target of a campaign like David’s are, in this situation, tending to move toward conservatism and to vote Republican,” Ortiz said.

Alvarez said he thought Mayor Kevin Faulconer's campaign had played on racial fears to win the election.

Some observers have criticized Alvarez for not working harder to court voters from the middle and even right side of the political spectrum. But he defended his campaign.

“I think what no one’s really talked about is how many people I might have lost had I not stood with my values and what I believed in, and tried to be somebody who I wasn’t,” Alvarez said. “For me it’s always been about being who I am and always being true to that. Because I think, at the end of the day, voters can see right through that.”

Alvarez’s supporters plan to hold other post-election forums in the coming months.

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